14 May 2000
A little while ago today former Prime Minister Keizo Obuchi passed away.
Late Mr. Keizo Obuchi assumed the responsibility for this nation as Prime Minister at a time when the Japanese economy was in an extremely difficult situation and he devoted himself to important issues in Japanfs domestic and foreign policies, beginning with efforts to place the economy on a path to rebirth. The fruits of his efforts have steadily become apparent as the outlook for the Japanese economy has become gradually bright toward self-sustained recovery. Former Prime Minister Obuchi energetically engaged in foreign policy with the leaders of other nations and spared no efforts to ensure the peace and stability of the world. All the leaders I met with on my recent visit to the G8 member states expressed their high appreciation for Mr. Obuchifs dedication to international peace and to the success of the Kyushu-Okinawa Summit.
Former Prime Minister Obuchi, looking at the future, decided to host the G8 Summit in Kyushu and Okinawa after soul-searching consideration. It is indeed heart-wrenching that he has passed away without seeing it to a successful conclusion. Continuing in the spirit of Mr. Obuchi, we are resolved to do our utmost to ensure the success of the Summit.
Furthermore, former Prime Minister Obuchi devoted great efforts toward considering the best path forward to build our nation as it should be in the 21st century. Indeed, more than anyone else, he was keenly grieved by the various social phenomena which our nation currently faces, and in order to ensure that Japan will be a nation with wealth and virtue, he gathered opinion leaders from all spheres to identify a vision for Japan in the 21st century and boldly advanced reforms spanning such areas as educational reform and social security and welfare reform.
Former Prime Minister Obuchi was such a man who seldom criticized others and was always willing to listen to the opinions of others. His sincere attitude and warm personality are indelibly engraved in my mindfs eye.
I am overcome with grief at the news that Japan has lost a leader who loved her so much.
Allow me to speak for the people of our nation in expressing my deepest condolences to Mrs. Obuchi and all other bereaved family members.